View Poll Results: Will human population and economic activity exceed the Planets carrying capacity?

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  • All problems can be resolved and our course is sustainable

    3 14.29%
  • Our economic activity is probably sustainable.

    1 4.76%
  • Our population numbers and activity is not sustainable

    5 23.81%
  • There is likely to be an envoronmental collapse and drop in world population.

    15 71.43%
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Thread: Will human population and economic activity exceed the Planets carrying capacity?

  1. Top | #1
    Contributor DBT's Avatar
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    Will human population and economic activity exceed the Planets carrying capacity?

    Considering that carrying capacity depends on many factors, population size, rate of consumption, climate conditions, habitat loss, pollution, etc, do you believe that the course we are on is sustainable in the long term, let's say over the next hundred years?

  2. Top | #2
    Formerly Joedad
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    As I stated in another thread it depends on what kind of planet one wishes to inhabit.

  3. Top | #3
    Fair dinkum thinkum bilby's Avatar
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    There's plenty of planet to go around. The world's land area has a similar population density to that of the USA - sure, there are lots of crowded parts, and some huge cities and conurbations, but these are not the norm - they are just the only bits most people see.



    Biological resources need management and husbandry, but we know how to look after these things - we are not going to run out of food. Local shortages are largely a thing of the past, as transportation is cheap and people are generally less poor.

    There has never been a global shortage of any mineral products, and there's no reason why there ever should be.

    Wilderness areas need protection against overuse, but mostly that's not a problem - tourists LOVE crowds, and almost all want to go to the same handful of destinations. There's plenty of empty space for the few people who want it. (If you disagree, try driving from Roma to Cloncurry, and then saying with a straight face that there are too many people in Queensland - sure, there are too many in Brisbane, but that's because they almost all want to be there. And the rest stick like glue to the East Coast).

    The map above shows human population density. If you like crowds, live in India or China. If you are indifferent to them, live in the Americas. If you hate them, Australia or Siberia are for you.

    We have driven plenty of species to extinction; Whether this is a problem depends on your definition of 'problem', and on the particular species we lose.

    There is no reason at all to imagine that humans will continue to thrive and to become wealthier (while not becoming much more numerous). It's good to be a human. If you want your kids to have a better chance of seeing a Bengal Tiger or a Rhinoceros than you had of seeing a Dodo or a Thylacine, then some action is needed - but this is not about human survival, or even human comfort. Rare species are a luxury that we would be crazy to squander, but they are not an essential for our existence.

    We could do better - but aside from our continuing effect on the atmosphere and climate due to CO2 emissions, things are going OK. Climate change is not the only problem we face, by a long chalk - but it is the only serious threat to humanity and our civilization.

    The rest does indeed come down to what kind of environment we want. But it's a big planet, and there's plenty for everyone.

  4. Top | #4
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    The western system is based on growth,, in general it goes back to early trading cultures. Expanding markets.

    Capital invest based on expectation of a return on investment plus profit. That requires population growth. Always has.

    China tried population control and ended up having to relinquish the attempt.

    A steady state population economy would be difficult under the present system . If all people are engaged in productive work, there is no way to implement new products and services without expanding population. It is the long term flaw in Laissez Faire Free Market Capitalism.

    Retirement plans 50 years to maturity require return on investment plus gains. That requires growth and increased consumption of resources.

    Centuries back England had a wood supply problem. They were running out of trees. Peasants were not allowed to fell trees or pull off branches. It is the origin of the term 'by hook or by crook'. The problem was solved by importing timber from North American colonies.

    In ancient Greece the color purple dye came from a particular ses critter that was harvested to extinction.

    A few decades back the northeast cod stocks were depleted after deregulation allowed uncontrolled growth in fishing boat licences. Initially it was an investment bonanza.

    Factory ships vacuum up fish. You can map out the expansion of Chinese factory fishing as it expanded away from China as wares were overfished.

    There was something in the news recently about French and English fishing boats exchanging gunfire over claims. Norway planted its flag on a tiny rock sticking out of the ocean laying claim to fishing rights around it. There have been several conflicts between Philippine fishing boats and Chinese warships of fishing rights claims. China arbitrary redrew international maritime boundaries to include prime fishing grounds. The Filipinos ran an old cargo ship aground on a tiny atol keeping it manned to claim nearby waters.

    That is just the beginning. A cursory review of history will say military conflict over resources is in the future. The worse case scenario is nuclear weapons. The Iraq Iran war was over historical claims to waterways.

    Unless we quickly grow global wisdom and cooperation the collapse of western civilization as it is seems likely from history. WWII swept away all the old systems and aristocratic hereditary powers paving the way for postwar liberal democracies. The democracies are failing the Darwin Test.

    It may happen suddenly or gradually. What Trump has demonstrated is the underlying weaknesses of the western alliances. Inability to work cooperatively.

    Saudi is looking at or has already towed icebergs for water.

    Resources are not infinite or remotely so. The rejection of conservation is the mantra of the white conservative Christians over there. Earth was given to humans to exploit.
    Last edited by steve_bank; 10-12-2018 at 07:32 AM.

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    Contributor repoman's Avatar
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    Ok Steve, what is the excuse for the Chinese?

    At any rate, I am probably the most pessimistic on this board I used to visit websites like

    https://collapseofindustrialciviliza...ets-out-alive/

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    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    The western system is based on growth,, in general it goes back to early trading cultures. Expanding markets.

    Capital invest based on expectation of a return on investment plus profit. That requires population growth. Always has.
    Where's the logical connection?


    China tried population control and ended up having to relinquish the attempt.
    In what sense did China have to relinquish its attempt at population control?


    A steady state population economy would be difficult under the present system . If all people are engaged in productive work, there is no way to implement new products and services without expanding population.
    Do only newborns buy new stuff?

    It is the long term flaw in Laissez Faire Free Market Capitalism.

    Retirement plans 50 years to maturity require return on investment plus gains. That requires growth and increased consumption of resources.

    Centuries back England had a wood supply problem. They were running out of trees. Peasants were not allowed to fell trees or pull off branches. It is the origin of the term 'by hook or by crook'. The problem was solved by importing timber from North American colonies.

    In ancient Greece the color purple dye came from a particular ses critter that was harvested to extinction.

    A few decades back the northeast cod stocks were depleted after deregulation allowed uncontrolled growth in fishing boat licences. Initially it was an investment bonanza.

    Factory ships vacuum up fish. You can map out the expansion of Chinese factory fishing as it expanded away from China as wares were overfished.
    Anecdotes about groups of humans overusing a particular resource at in a particular time and location are no evidence that this is inevitable globally.


    Resources are not infinite or remotely so. The rejection of conservation is the mantra of the white conservative Christians over there. Earth was given to humans to exploit.
    If you think anyone in this thread is rejecting conservation, you'll sure be happy to point out who and were?

  7. Top | #7
    Contributor DBT's Avatar
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    Maybe there are differing ideas on the nature and level of conservation needed? One persons idea of conservation may be another persons perception of neglect?

  8. Top | #8
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    No excuses for the Chinese. They are doing in a way what Imperial Japan did leading up to WWII. Seize as much resources as possible.

    Historically China's actions on resources is leading up to a military confrontation. They built an artificial island military base. It is always about population and resources. Hitler's plan was to depopulate part of the Soviet Union For resources and population growth. Japan started the war with US over oil and other resource embargos for Japan's actions in China. The two Iraq wars were about oil. History repeating itself back to the origins of civilizations and the need for growth.

    Conservation is an attitude not necessarily an fixed ideology. An awareness our actions have long term consequences that affect the future of humanity.

    There is the cliche 'the ugly American'. A global traver oblivious to culture and issues and sees the world only through American eyes.

    To most people when they flush the toilet or put garbage cans out for pickup it is out of sight out of mind. There is no collective consciousness of the environmental impact of our economic system/

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    What woukd happen if everyone in the wrold consumed food and goods on a par with North America and Western Europe?I heard it said if Chines consumes an extra few six packs of beer A YEAR it would take the wheat harvest of Canada and then some,

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    Content Thief Elixir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    What woukd happen if everyone in the wrold consumed food and goods on a par with North America and Western Europe?I heard it said if Chines consumes an extra few six packs of beer A YEAR it would take the wheat harvest of Canada and then some,
    I've "heard it said" that the earth can support around a trillion people. And it was backed up with lots of data/facts. I'm pretty sure some salient facts were omitted from the thesis, but ignoring that, my concern is - whothehell would want to live in a world like that?

    IOW the world's carrying capacity is irrelevant. What matters is how many people can live sustainably and happily on this planet. IMHO the answer is "fewer than there already are".

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